ALS is a brain disease that is closely related to Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and Huntington’s. Also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, ALS targets brain cells called motor neurons. Motor neurons send messages from the brain to muscles throughout the body. In ALS, as motor neurons die, a person progressively loses the ability to walk, speak, swallow, and breathe. ALS affects adults of all ages, from teens to seniors, and is usually fatal within 2-5 years of diagnosis. Project ALS and others are working together to develop the first effective treatments. Our current strategy is to slow the progression of ALS until we can cure it.
A 21st CENTURY HEALTH CRISIS
ALS is a neurodegenerative disease. By 2025, 1 in 25 Americans will be diagnosed with a neurodegenerative disease. It is estimated that the financial toll of this crisis—in healthcare costs alone—will reach $150 billion. The emotional toll of neurodegenerative disease on patients and the people who love them is incalculable.
Neurodegenerative diseases have become a global health crisis. While the world population, on average, is living longer, we remain vulnerable to brain disease. That is because the brain is still a mystery to us. Currently, neurodegenerative diseases are untreatable and incurable, though Project ALS and others are closing in on the first effective treatments.
Experts agree that if we unlock the mysteries of ALS, we will open the door to treatments and even cures for neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases.